Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Need of Maitri SAM

The Need of Maitri SAM

The Maitri VL of MICA Naval and Land based System ©Livefist

          The alternate name known for Maitri is Akash MK II, Improved Trishul, VL Mica or famously known as Maitri. It's been a long pending project which was constituted to mainly equip the warships with advanced SR SAM capability which would engage the sea skimming anti shipping missiles and to replace the aging Soviet era missiles in use with the Army and Air force.

           The Indian Naval platform is the largest defence sector covering the large coastal areas of India. Indian navy has a number of Surface ships. These ships have been equipped with various offensive missile suites but these systems have been aged and can no longer engage the tech advanced modern systems.

 These systems can engage hostile targets and destroy the targets at the touch of a button but the system our naval platform lacks is an reliable missile defence systems. Our platforms are currently using the decade old arm launching Kub SAM's which were imported from Russia. The Kub SAM is a radar guided missile which is able shoot down hostile planes and fighters but not the fast moving missiles. For the purpose of shooting down these missiles, navy relies on the CIWS but even these systems are decades old.
            The recently inducted Kolkata class destroyers, Talwar class frigates have all lacked a reliable defensive system. These platforms have failed to be equipped with the crucial LR SAM and SR SAM defensive systems. They are currently guarded by the outdated AK 630 CIWS, Kolkata class carry's four and the Talwar class carry's two AK 630 or two Kashtan CIWS batteries, the Talwar are also equipped with the 24 cell Shitil-1 SAM system which can be effective only in the Anti air missions and not for engaging anti sea skimming missiles.

      In the next upcoming up gradation these platforms will be equipped with the more advanced Barak 8 systems. Barak 8 is a new generation Indo-Israeli developed LR SAM which can be used for Anti Air and Anti Sea skimming threats. But the need for the navy would be a SR SAM. The western country naval platform comes with CIWS, SR SAM and MR SAM as the defensive package.

 The Indian naval platforms are being designed with the same package. Frigates are mainly being designated as Air warfare destroyer, which would be mainly designed to escort other naval ships from enemy ship borne and submerged platform threats. This would mandate the Talwar also to need a combination of CIWS, SR and MR SAM.

         While this is a long requirement, Navy has opted for Israeli made Barak 1 system which can be better for similar role but lacks in range, the Barak 1 is capable of engaging targets up to 12 kilometers only. Navy have installed these missiles on all Shivalik class frigates. 

Barak 1 on board the Aircraft carriers acts as the ships primary PMDS, but it's again riddled with the problems of direct import. Too tackle this navy is looking for a JV under which Maitri SAM’s would be procured. The Maitri SAM’s are based on the advanced MBDA MICA air to air Missile.

    Here plans for massive induction of Maitri were drawn for Army's SR SAM requirement. But the requirement was fulfilled with the use of the remodeled SA 6 KUB missile which was later named as Akash system. Army has already issued a tender to acquire anti missile SAM like SOSNA system from Russia.

 The requirements of the Air force are to be taken care of by procuring about 18 batteries of SpyDer SAM. The SpyDer SAM will be directly imported from Israel which will have anti missile capabilities also. Air force has already placed orders for quite a few number of Akash systems too. For the role of a SR SAM the Air force may still opt for Maitri.

           Under a Joint Venture for Maitri there are many agendas Indian and France sides can be benefited with, the MBDA has promised to provide technologies of small seekers which would be used in Air to Air missiles and QR SAM's. The Astra designed by DRDO had failed to obtain the same technology from the Russians and was designed based on the Russian R77 missiles. Russians failed to provide a full ToT for the seeker technology.  

   MBDA has agreed to share the Technology of Terminal homing Guidance, but India has already acquired this technology but the ToT can still strength the knowledge Indian firms have mastered in this field. With a JV we can produce a number of SAM using our local facilities. Clubbing the Barak 8 LR SAM along with Maitri SR SAM which shares a VLS technology with anti missile capability can boost our defensive capability with more advanced systems in the Region

The entire Land based Stand alone  Maitri System ©MBDA

VL of MICA IR and EM Testing ©MBDA

Chart of Maitri Engagement ©MBDA

Editor Karthik Kakoor

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